My first impulse is to say that it's overrated. But when I say that, I'm talking about the tired cliches of romance - flowers and hearts, teddy bears and candy, etc. However, the actual definition of romance is anything that makes you feel the emotion of love. That could be anything, and it means lots of different things for different people. So really, I mean that flowers and teddy bears are overrated, and romance is underrated.
Paris is known to be a romantic city, but we did not do any of the romantic things. We saw a lot of art and churches and dead people. But we did have a romantic time, because we are already stupid in love with each other. I would look at something astounding in Paris, and go, "Holy crap, this place is amazing!" Then I would look next to me and think, "And Josh is here, too!" Then came the love feelings.
However, we did do one thing that most everyone would agree was romantic. We put a lock on a bridge.
We took a cruise on the river Seine, which splits the city about in half. In fact, the city used to be contained on an island in the Seine. River cruises are honestly the kind of touristy thing that I would avoid, but I enjoyed this, as it was a good way to see a lot of different sights from afar and understand how they all related to each other. Plus, who doesn't like being on a boat? This just goes to show that I shouldn't be such a snob about being a tourist, when I am, in fact, a tourist.
Another bonus of the river cruise was that it allowed us to get nice views and background information on the many bridges in the city. There was a recorded guide that told information about the bridges and the other various sights we were passing, but it was a little hard to follow, because it was recorded in seven different languages. So I kept missing the English portion because I had tuned out during the French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese parts.
There was one bridge, however, where the railing and fence was shining in an odd way, shimmering almost. As we got closer and then went under, I realized that the bridge was covered in padlocks. Huh? That night, when we got back to the apartment (and more importantly, to the wifi), I looked it up. Turns out, they're love locks. Awwww.
What you do is you get a lock, the kind you open with a key. This lock is a symbol of your love. So you take your beloved and your love lock and you put the love lock on the bridge and then toss the keys into the Seine. Do not toss your beloved into the Seine. There are two such bridges in Paris, one where you went with your lover and one where you went with someone you were committed to, like a spouse. The article I was reading then went on to quote some ill-mannered waiter who complained that this was not the French idea of love at all, which is where you love someone so much that you tell them to go have affairs and such. I would point out to this waiter that when I got married, I was not binding Josh to me, I was binding myself to him. It just worked out that he was also binding himself to me on the same day, which really cut down on expenses. But that waiter was probably just mad at his girlfriend for wanting him to commit already.
|Ya know, I think Kyle and Megan are going to make it|
Once (or maybe once in a while), the city will go and cut down the fence and put up a new one, but those silly lovers just put more up.
Anyway, Josh thought this whole lock thing sounded sweet, and so we set out to do a little romantic vandalism. The article helpfully told which bridge was for your wife (Pont des Arts) and which one was for your mistress, and also that there was a huge department store nearby where you could buy a lock. We found the hardware section and picked out a lock. Never in any of my Paris dreams did I imagine a hardware department being involved. I was in favor of the absolute cheapest one, but Josh wanted a weird-looking one that cost twice as much. We got the weird one, since I'm a sucker and it's supposed to symbolize our love or something.
|A weird symbol of our weird love.|
When we got to the bridge, we found that there were entrepreneurs who had bought multi-packs of locks at the same department store and would've sold us one, plus lent us a Sharpie to write our names on it. Oh well. Instead, Josh pulled out the knife he'd bought at the marche aux puces (flea market) the previous weekend and set to work engraving our names. It would have taken a long time to really do a bang-up job on it, but we are hoping that spending more on the lock would make up for our lack of effort on the engraving.
And then he put our lock on the bridge, all mixed up with all the other romantic suckers who had visited Paris. Then, taking a furtive look around, I threw the keys into the river. We smiled and walked away holding hands. It was pretty romantic.